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I recently corresponded with another (Indie) author regarding reviews—she’d purchased my book and she let me know that she’d done so, yay! When I asked her to post a review of the book if she felt it warranted a review, she told me that she doesn't do that very often because Amazon reprimands authors who review other authors’ books. What? Why would Amazon do that?
Unfortunately, a few bad apples have traded good reviews with each other, even if they haven’t read the book. This practice reflects badly on all Indie and small press authors, even though those few bad apples are the equivalent of one barrel in several thousand orchards.
Reviews are the life-blood of Indie and small press authors, and when I read books by these authors, I almost always post a review, however on one occasion, I was accused of being one of those aforementioned bad apples…Some time ago I purchased a limited edition 9 book set, of which, 6 of the authors were already favorites of mine and as a bonus, I was pleased to be introduced to 3 new authors whose work I've since bought, read and reviewed, because they were darn good books! After I posted my review of the original 9 book set, someone posted a snarky comment to the effect of: your 5 star review was seeded… Okay, that wasn't the exact comment but the bottom line there was that the commenter thought my review was a “favor” review and that couldn't have been further from the truth.
I am an avid reader and I always have been, I read for entertainment every single day and on lazy Sundays I can read an entire book. Having said that, I should be writing reviews because I read a lot of books!
In 2014, I joined up as a reviewer for a book blog that will only post 3 stars or above (their motto: if you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything at all). I know this goes against the need for readers to know that a book is bad, but it also allows me as an author, a reader, and a reviewer to let readers know a book is good and I think that’s equally important. Besides, there are plenty of 1 and 2 star reviewers out there…
When I scan reviews for books or products I always start with the 1 star reviews, more often than not, it’s just someone being mean…however, if a 1 star review is clear and concise in its complaints, I pay attention, but if its snarky I ignore it, it’s that simple. I’m not saying that you shouldn't post bad reviews, I've received a few and most were extremely informative and pointed out things in my books that needed improvement. I took those reviews very seriously, pulled the books and made the changes, and I hope other authors do the same (I think most do).
I now read Indie and small press more than anything, it’s not just because I want to support authors like myself, it’s because I've discovered more amazing authors in that world than I was discovering in the world of big publishing.
Of course, not all Indie and small press writers are good, so reviews are vital in my determination to purchase their work and when I come across a good author, and that’s happened quite a bit, I am more than happy to share my opinion of their work by posting a review on Amazon US/UK and Goodreads, and so should you! There is a very good reason that you, the reader should post a review: without reviews, these authors probably won’t sell that many books and if they don’t sell books, maybe they’ll stop writing them and that would be bad for all of us.
It only takes a minute or two to post a book or product review and you don’t have to go into a long lengthy explanation, one or two quick paragraphs about what you liked or disliked is all that is needed—and let’s face it, most of us have a short attention span, so we (at least me) tend to skip past the longer reviews. To make it even easier to post a review, most eBooks have a link at the end of the book that takes you directly to the review page—it couldn't be more convenient. However if you’re a lover of the printed book or that eBook you just finished didn't have the convenient link, please don’t let that deter you, take a minute and write that review, you’ll be doing your fellow book lovers and the author a tremendous favor!
Margaret A. Millmore is the author of supernatural/paranormal thrillers (2 novels, a 3 book series and book 1 of a new series.
You can find all her books at http://www.margaretmillmore.com/ or http://www.amazon.com/Margaret-Millmore/e/B005ME8QTQ
Her book reviews (and submission guidelines) can be found at http://www.bookexplosions.com/ or via Book Explosions Goodreads group https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/131875-book-explosions
Thank you for this thoughtful post about reviews! I agree that anyone who enjoyed a book should definitely take the time to review it if possible, especially books that have few or no reviews.
Regarding authors reviewing the books of other authors, my understanding is that some groups of authors were swapping reviews back and forth so often that eventually they had more reviews from other authors on each of their books than actual reviews from readers. It's the swapping, I believe, that's discouraged.
This is why I review on a different amazon account. I buy and read on an account totally separate from my author account. This also keeps trolls from retaliating for a perceived unsuitable review and attacking my books. Of course, my husband always wonders why girly books end up on his kindle.....
Cheryl S. Mackey, Author
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